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Buoyant times for managers and execs

If you're a job seeker, it's time to party like it's 1999.

Wallace Immen
Globe & Mail
July 20, 2005

There haven't been as many management and executive jobs on offer since the glory days of the tech boom -- and this has driven down the time it takes to land a new position, according to figures released this week.

"We are in buoyant times in executive searches. We are busier today than we were at the height of the tech boom," says Ron Robertson, Ottawa-based managing partner of the executive search firm Ray & Berndtson. The 560 executive searches done by the firm in Canada in the year that ended June 30 is 35 per cent higher than the previous year. "And it is not just in one sector, it is right across the board."

The time it takes to find a new job is also dropping. A new survey indicates managers and executives who found a new job in United States in the second quarter were on the market an average of just 3.1 months.

That is a drop from the 3.8 months it took in the same period a year ago, according to the survey by Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which included 3,000 managers and executives.

During the jobless recovery that followed the 2001 recession, job search times peaked in the first quarter of 2003, reaching a record high of 4.2 months.

While there are no equivalent figures for Canada, Mr. Robertson says he believes the average time between jobs has shrunk just as dramatically in Canada. "There is always a direct correlation. When more jobs are in play, it is more likely that a person can get an offer without extensive hunting."

"People are seeing more opportunities that match their interests. A few even have the luxury of choice that wasn't available in the three years following the tech crash in 2000," adds Marge Watters, president of search firm KWA Partners in Toronto.

She estimates the average search for a mid-level management job lasts between three and four months in Canada.

However, she cautions that the higher the position, the fewer the available jobs and the longer the search. People in the upper executive echelons can still expect a job hunt of six months or more.

The Challenger study suggests job seekers may help their cause if they're willing to relocate. In the second quarter, 16.4 per cent of job seekers who found positions relocated to new cities. That's up from 16 per cent in the previous quarter.

While some were compelled to relocate for a new job, few had to sacrifice job stature. Of the second-quarter job seekers, 89 per cent were able to win equivalent or better positions, which takes into consideration several factors, including salary, benefits and job title.

© 2005 Ray & Berndtson



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